While watching the news and catching up on emails the other night, I received an “888” call followed by an urgent text from my bank. It alerted me to fraud on my personal bank account and provided an authorized code and phone number to call. I dialed that number only to receive the same official bank voice/menu I knew from past calls I’d made to the bank.
Being suspicious, I proceeded to call the phone number on the back of my credit card, which was the same voice/menu as in the text message. Finally, having made my way through to customer service, I was advised that the text message was in fact a new type of fraud that the bank was trying to deal with. It had them as stumped as I was—and this was one of the country’s top three banks!
Clearly, the sophistication of fraud through technology and communication is rapidly escalating. The look and sound are so convincing that it’s tough to know what is real and what is fake. If you haven’t yet experienced such fraud attempts, it’s only a matter of time before you will.
So, what can public entities and higher Ed institutions do to protect themselves?
Here are some suggested tips:
1. Today’s phone texts are the new form of robo messaging. They look real and their reference to a link or phone call are only a lure to have you provide personal and confidential financial access to your bank accounts. Never respond to a text by a financial institution. Use it as an opportunity to reach out to your bank or banker and report the potential fraud.
2. If you receive a phone call from someone identifying him/herself as a financial representative looking to discuss a specific transaction or account, ask for his/her name and employee number. Then hang up and call your bank to report the incident and verify if such a person is on the bank’s staff.
3. Lately there have been a number of scams suggesting that your bank is looking to verify your information to update a “Know Your Client” (KYC) requirement. You may be told that if you do not respond, your accounts will be blocked. A bank would never reach out by text or email to verify your identity or personal information. Rather, they would do so either by letter or in person.
Scammers are using technology to gain access to your information and money. They use approaches that look real, urgent, and threatening. The only way to protect yourself and your organization is to be alert to and cognizant of these attempts.
If you ever have a question or suspect such activity, call your banker immediately. This should be your first level of defense against fraud. If your bank does not respond or provide fraud protection, then it’s time to look for a new bank that does. In today’s marketplace, there is no excuse for a bank to leave you unprotected.
Through rfpPrep® by three+one®, we can help you navigate through the bank and treasury services you should be receiving to protect your organization and the money of those you serve.
The world of fraud looks so innocent and real. Let us help you unmask the fraud and protect those dollars you have a fiduciary obligation to protect.
October has been an exciting month for us at three+one®. Celebrating 5 amazing years reminds us of our passion for giving back to the communities we serve. That truly has been our calling. Together with our public & higher-ed partners, cashvest® by three+one® has helped secure more than $150M in new revenue for your taxpayers & students!
The only question left to answer…Will you be a part of the next 5 years?
The Town of Aurora, New York is located southeast of Buffalo and includes the Village of East Aurora. Its Main Street is famous for its energetic small-town ambiance with specialty shops, restaurants, and historic homes. It may be most celebrated as the home of Fisher-Price, the internationally renowned toy manufacturer.
The Town of Aurora, with a population of approximately 13,000 (2010 census), has an $8.9 million budget (all funds). In August 2017, Supervisor Jim Bach and the Town Board engaged the cashvest® & rfpPrep® services by three+one®, seeking to provide their taxpayers with as much additional revenue/savings as possible.
Supervisor Bach and Assistant to the Supervisor Kathleen Moffat have carried out three+one®’s plan. Over the past twelve months, the Town has achieved $165,820 in realized interest earnings and “soft savings” of $35,902 in banking fees.
Here are some of the ways the town accomplished this substantial spike in additional revenue:
(1) 100% of the town’s cash is earning interest and 79% of all the town’s cash is providing value through a diversified-liquidity strategy that is meeting the 30-day Treasury index. Current investments are earning between 1.89% and 2.15%. Due to the town’s proactive liquidity strategy employing time horizon data and stress-test modeling, the town has a significant portion of cash locked in fixed-income solutions earning 2.10% through October 2020 – something that could not have been achieved without time horizon data and fixed income solutions.
(2) The town does not look at its cash in select “buckets.” The three+one® plan benchmarks all cash on a quarterly basis and helps the town implement a comprehensive liquidity strategy on all cash in order to guarantee all assets are bringing value to the taxpayers. There’s a science behind continually earning while offsetting banking services, ensuring cash flow for A/P & payroll, and strategic liquidity time horizons.
(3) The Town Board revised and updated its investment policy statement and took steps to adopt electronic payment solutions. These steps provided the framework necessary to ensure the safety of public dollars while meeting all legal requirements and maximizing the value on cash. The adoption of electronic payment options: (1) decreased costs, (2) increased float (increased investment potential on funds), and (3) provided increased transparency through online ePayable technology.
The Town of Aurora’s Board is enthusiastic about trying solutions that provide additional revenue to the taxpayers. With proposed AIM (Aid and Incentives for Municipalities) funding cuts in New York, tax-cap limits, infrastructure needs, and abundant taxpayer service essentials, this new income will provide a much-needed boost in revenue.
If you are a town/village/city or school district weighing the options of whether to take advantage of bringing revenue benefits to your entity, consider the size of your budget and identify your year-to-date interest earnings.
Here are some examples of where interest earnings using cashvest® by three+one® should be:
$5 million budget = at least ~$94,860 in income
$19 million budget = at least ~$353,400 in income
$22 million budget = at least ~$409,200 in income
$69 million budget = at least ~$1,283,400 in income
$92 million budget = at least ~$1,711,200 in income
Finally, bear in mind that there is no one solution in today’s public banking marketplace. Be cautious and skeptical of any vendor that suggests a “one size fits all” product; they simply don’t exist. Public entities have different banks, ever-changing liquidity variations, strategic-liquidity amounts of different sizes, varying degrees of experience, and available time horizons.
We’re proud of the success The Town of Aurora has achieved. We stand ready to do the same for your entity.
Join our team at three+one® in officially celebrating the firm’s 5 year anniversary! This journey started as a mere dream between Joe Rulison & Peter Forsgren 25 years ago. Today we are able to boast more than $150M in new revenue for the public & higher-ed entities our company serves, and in turn for your taxpayers & students.
Will you be a part of this continued success in our next 5 years?
Finance is a continuous and rapidly evolving industry. Technology, regulatory requirements, and obligations to our taxpayers or higher-ed stakeholders are at the forefront of policy considerations.
In today’s vlog we discuss the importance of investing in the education of our finance officials. Professional development is vital to the success of your finance office and your entity.